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Trout fishing in the Catskills - part I

Updated: Jan 3, 2023

Fly fishing for trout in Trout Town USA!

Trout Town USA welcome

I recently had home alone status for a week and decided on a road trip to fish for trout. After considering a number of great suggestions from members of one of my favorite fishing forums, I chose to spend a few nights in the Catskills to camp and fly fish for trout. The decision was based on the number of waters that could be fished in late June, as well as the emotional attachment to the area – I was born in nearby Poughkeepsie and had a few camping experiences with the family in the Catskills in my early years.

Visit fly shops in Roscoe, New York for fishing guidance

As readers of my blog know, I would normally look to hire a fishing guide to help me target fish on waters that I am not familiar with. In this case, I decided to adopt adventure mode (which means low budget) and rely on the input and wisdom of the local fly shops. In return, I always spend a few bucks on maps and the recommended fly patterns, even if I already have the flies. In this case, Joe Rist of Trout Town Flies in Roscoe was a wealth of knowledge and happy to make some recommendations regarding which waters to fish and the best fly patterns.

literally lived in my car for four days and three nights

Roscoe, New York is Trout Town USA

This would be a rustic expedition. I chose to camp in the Beaverkill State Park near Roscoe, NY, which dubs itself as Trout Town USA. I cannot argue with that moniker as the town is located near to three epic trout waters – the Beaverkill, the Willowemoc and the West Branch of the Delaware River (which is actually 30 minutes away in Deposit, close to Hancock). All three are included in Trout Unlimited's Guide to America’s 100 Best Trout Streams, which was another factor in choosing this destination for my adventure.

Apart from my previous fishing experiences in British Columbia, I have not had a more exciting and rewarding trip. The fishing here was challenging, but exciting and varied. There were easy waters teeming with fish, as well as more difficult and technical waters that took determination to target the fish. What struck me most was that Trout Town USA obviously had an aura and renown that attracted a lot of anglers from many places. I saw more than a dozen different state license plates parked in roadside water access areas from as far away as Florida and Missouri. Clearly this area has a reputation among the trout fishing community.

Fly fishing for trout on the Beaverkill River

I arrived on a Monday evening and set up camp, which was alongside the Beaverkill River, and promptly set off with a 4-weight fly rod and a neversink fly pattern to try my luck. It did not take long for a wild brown trout to attack my fly. Each evening before sinking into my sleeping bag, I would spend ½ an hour cruising the river hooking up on hungry browns. It was fun.

a Beaverkill wild brown

Fly fishing for trout on the Willowemoc Creek

I spent most of the next day exploring the Willowemoc Creek between Roscoe and Livingston Manor (referred to as the lower section). The Willowemoc begins in a hamlet that is the creek’s namesake 27 miles from Roscoe, where it joins the Beaverkill at the aptly named ‘Junction Pool’, which has legendary status in the trout fishing community.

Apparently, you do not go to Trout Town USA and not fish the ‘Junction Pool’. I certainly did, just to check the box. In my opinion, while the Willowemoc does feel like an intimate water relative to the Beaverkill, it should deserve more than ‘creek’ status. It can be a fairly robust water in parts, particularly at Buck Eddy, where it takes on a dramatic and expansive appearance like much of the Beaverkill.

legendary Junction Pool

A good portion of the lower section of the Willowemoc parallels Old Route 17 and features many access points – maybe eight or nine before reaching Livingston Manor. I checked in on all of these, but did not venture much beyond Livingston Manor (as far as Dubuce) because the ‘Posted No Trespassing’ signs became all too prevalent. My favorite access points included those at the Hazel power substation and the pools at the Catskills Fly Fishing Center.

a Willowemoc brown

This blog post continues with Part II to be featured shortly. Tight Lines!

Note: I am not being compensated by the mention of certain establishments in this post. I am simply a happy client.

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